Pop superstar Cher has joined the fight to relocate Los Angeles Zoo's beloved elephant to a new home after taking part in a march on city officials on Wednesday (28Jan09). The singer/actress joined former U.S. TV game show host Bob Barker, among others, when she urged L.A. City Council bigwigs to halt the development of a new elephant habitat and use the cash to move pachyderm Billy.
But Cher, Barker and fellow celebrity animal lover Lily Tomlin, who are leading the charge to find Billy a new sanctuary home, face tough opposition - from rocker Slash.
The former Guns N' Roses star recently applauded plans for the new elephant house at the zoo, insisting he'll be a regular visitor.
Slash said, "Billy has been taken care of at the zoo for about 20 years. He has four keepers, who have been at his beck and call, taking care of him and providing him with optimal medical care and everything else that he needs.
"This enclosure is one of the nicest enclosures he could possibly have... It's really well done. It gives the elephants an amazing amount of room to move around. I'm a huge advocate of this particular exhibit."
Tomlin is opposed to the plans. Last year (08), she said, "The habitat (at the zoo) is simply not big enough, and no habitat
in a zoo is big enough for an elephant... They are mammoth and majestic and beautiful and sensitive, and, for generations, we have put elephants in zoos.
"Billy himself lives on about a quarter of an acre for more than 20 years and it's just not humane and it's not rational or responsible.
"Elephants have to walk 30 to 40 miles a day just to keep healthy and that's one of the reasons why they suffer so much in zoos and develop abscesses of the feet and terrible arthritis. They also develop great mental problems; psychologically they're depressed."